Each week, Just Drinks’ editors select a deal that illustrates the themes driving change in our sector. The deal may not always be the largest in value, or the highest profile, but it will tell us where the leading companies are focusing their efforts, and why.
This new, thematic deal coverage is driven by our underlying disruptor data which tracks all major deals across our sectors.
US wine major E&J Gallo has acquired California canned wine and spritzer brand Bev.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2017, Bev claims to offer the “first-ever TTB-approved [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] ‘zero sugar’ canned wine on the market”.
Bev founder and chief executive Alix Peabody started the female-led RTD brand with an aim to change the culture around drinking.
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E&J Gallo has already been Bev’s distributor for two years.
Why it matters
Little more than a month after snapping up US canned cocktail brand Fishers Island Lemonade, E&J Gallo has got another deal in the can, adding the Bev wine brand to its stable.
Wine in cans is not a new packaging concept, with attempts to use it having occurred at various points over the last 90 years.
However, while bottles remain the dominant packaging for wine, cans finally appear to have carved out a foothold, with a clutch of brands gaining – and keeping – retail listings in markets on both sides of the Atlantic.
Why might that be? Two macro trends having an increasing impact on a growing number of consumers hold the key – an interest in environmental sustainability and in more mindful drinking.
There remains some debate about the long-term business case for cans, with the format still facing hurdles – a perception among some consumers that canned wine is cheap and sourcing challenges to name two.
And there have been some questions specifically about the long-term potential for canned wine in the US but E&J Gallo’s move for Bev indicates it at least wants a piece of the action.
“We are on a mission to serve joy as we win new friends for wine, which means ensuring consumers have access to products that make them feel welcome. As an industry, we are adapting and evolving to remain relevant to the next generation of alcoholic beverage consumers,” Stephanie Gallo, E&J Gallo’s chief marketing officer, said.
Having the owner of wine brands such as Barefoot and Clos du Bois behind Bev should provide the California brand – and the broader canned wine segment – with some marketing muscle.
The trick will be convincing more wine drinkers to give up the bottle and reach for a can.
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Bev’s product range comprises nine varietals including Rosé, Blanc and the recently released ‘Brite’.
All varietals are from California, have an abv of 11.9% and are available in four-packs of 250ml cans. The packs retail for between $15.99 and $17.99.
Just Drinks has asked E&J Gallo about the potential for any changes to be made to Bev’s production footprint. At the time of writing, the company had not responded to a request for comment.